Evan and I are often asked how we got started with The Tinker and The Fold and how we continue to progress with the project four years and 500 pages later.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy or fluid. Yes, we schedule time to sit down every week to work on various elements of the story, website, marketing, etc, but as in most families with three kids and myriad commitments, there’s almost always something else competing for our attention.
Sometimes the material (especially at the beginning of a new book) needs to sit and percolate for a week or two before it resumes a natural creative flow. We are currently experiencing this phenomenon with the third and final installment of The Tinker trilogy.
Whilst the foundation of The Tinkerverse is firmly laid, each installment need to:
Evan and I are particularly enamored with the finale of Part 1 – The Problem with Solaris 3. No spoilers here, but if you’ve read it, you understand why we like it so much (and many of our fans agree). The book’s ending intentionally leaves the reader on the razors edge, eager for the next installment.
In part one we were looking for something impactful, you know, in the vein of The Empire Strikes Back, and while it may not be “Luke, I am your father” good, it serves the purpose of both surprising the reader and engaging him in the rest of the series.
The ending of book one presented us with a conundrum as we wrapped book 2 – The Rise of The Boe: how in the heck were we going to do that again? Honestly, we got quite hung up on the ending of book 2. In fact, The Rise of Boe has an alternate ending in one of the early proofs. During the editing phase of the first print run, the original ending left us flat. It was missing the oomph of the first book.
So we ruminated on this for several weeks until we had that ever evasive ‘ah-ha’ moment and rewrote the ending. So far reader feedback has been positive, so we’re glad we didn’t settle for the original ending. In today’s ebook and on-demand printing world, it’s never too late to tweak your book.
Another issue we experienced with book 2 was the length. When we finished the book, the story (other than the ending) felt complete, but we had a major problem: it was much shorter than book 1 – like 60 pages shorter!
You might be thinking ‘so what’, but I can tell you, this was a big problem because a thinner book can suffer from the following challenges:
In the end, we did a little of both.
Evan and I discussed lengthening The Rise of The Boe, but the story flow felt very natural to us, so we knew we needed to proceed with caution. After some discussion, we added a background chapter on Jett’s (The Tinker’s) mother, an interview with his father, a backgrounder chapter on the female protagonist – Cyd.
Still, we lacked sufficient material, so we looked to solve a common complaint about The Tinker and The Fold – how does one pronounce all of those crazy names (many of which are actually Star Wars anagrams). The solution? We added a glossary of definitions and phonetic pronunciations.
In other words, we added useful fluff.
Yet, the book was still a dozen or so pages too short. One last tweak fixed that. We increased the font size by half a point and shazaam we now had the perfect sized book!
Keep in mind, every time we made one of these tweaks, we had to reformat the entire book. Depending on the intensity of the change, reformatting can be a 15 minute exercise or a 3 hour one. Even the smallest tweaks should be accompanied by a complete scan of the book, because something as small as a single word can set off a chain reaction many chapters downstream that throws everything off just enough to look horrible.
Now with book 3 outlined, Evan and I are on to character briefs (updates and backstory for a new character – Maria). As we look ahead, we will be challenged with crafting an ending that both wraps up the series yet leaves an opening should fans demand future installments, origin stories, and the like.
We also need a title (which is often the very last element of creation we tackle), so stay tuned for that.
We are excited to continue on our journey of self-discovery and learning. Check back for our next installment – getting professional book covers done on the cheap.
We’ll even feature some of the covers that didn’t make the cut!
Thanks for reading.
Download Book 1 for FREE January 7, 2017!